Private food standard certification: analysis of the BRC standard in Italian agri-food

Spadoni, Roberta, Lombardi, Pamela, Canavari, Maurizio and Hingley, Martin (2014) Private food standard certification: analysis of the BRC standard in Italian agri-food. British Food Journal, 116 (1). pp. 142-164. ISSN 0007-070X

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Purpose – The aim of this paper is to assess the applicability and impact of private food standards –
specifically that of the BRC (British Retail Consortium) – in a European country context, and to
classify food companies into groups on the basis of their different perceptions regarding the Global
Standard for Food safety impacts.
Design/methodology/approach – The research is developed in two stages: a qualitative
investigation based on in-depth interviews with quality managers (QMs); a quantitative
investigation with a structured questionnaire: with response from 192 food processors in Italy,
selected through a probabilistic random sampling method. Data were elaborated with descriptive
statistical techniques and subsequently with multivariate analysis (factor and cluster analysis).
Findings – QMs agree with most of the assumptions with regard to the impact elements of the BRC
food standard. Some characteristics, such as geographic location, size, and type of processing and
adoption of ISO 9001, seem to elicit different perceptions between the companies. Through factor
analysis, eight factors were extracted; and subsequently, through cluster analysis applied to the
factors, five different groups of companies are identified.
Practical implications – The adoption of private food standards is both useful and comprehensible
for food operators. However, BRC is a minimum standard and a base level for food suppliers; it cannot
wholly substitute a specific retailer’s dedicated second-party audit. Findings could be used by the
subjects of the certification process to determine ideal marketing strategies.
Originality/value – This paper provides a statistically significant description of the impact of
private food standards (via the important BRC standard) in one of the most important European

Additional Information:Full paper on request.
Keywords:Cluster analysis, Factor analysis, Certification, NotOAChecked
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D600 Food and Beverage studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N240 Retail Management
N Business and Administrative studies > N110 European Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:12788
Deposited On:21 Dec 2013 13:19

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